Getting to this village is not as easy as it might seem. San Salvador is a small island with little or no tourist draw. There is one other small hotel on the island catering to a few SCUBA divers. Other than the Club's air charter, the only way to reach the island is using Bahamas Air and connecting through Nassau (one flight per day) or Miami (three flights per week). Bahamas Air takes 'losing luggage' and 'we'll be delayed' to a new level. The Club's charter comes in twice a day on the weekend. If there were enough people in your group you might even charter your own small plane.
To say the village is close to the airport, is difficult. Spitting distance is more like it. It takes longer to get into and out of the vehicles, than does the drive. With as few flights as there are, this proximity to the airport is not a problem. If you do your own transportation, the Club will graciously take you from the airport to the village, in their van. It's only when you go to check-out that you find that they have added a $10US 'transfer' fee to your bill.
The Sea Center is a combination facility. It is the focus for the SCUBA divers, as you might expect by the name. Divers: make sure you ask for rooms close to here. It also houses the workout room and disco downstairs, with the two annex restaurants upstairs. The hyperbaric chamber is out back (doesn't every hotel have one) and there is a small bar in the front corner. The bar is a delightful place to sit and watch the sun set.
Probably the best way to see the local sites is by bicycle. BUT, on my last visit, I was told that they no longer offered bicycles. I was also told that this was seasonal. This might mean 'it's seasonal', or that it's a prelude to 'No we don't offer that anymore'. You can rent a scooter at the airport, if you'd like. The island is as flat as they come, so no problem there. To ride or walk into town you must cross the airstrip, but don't worry, there is a warning sign advising you to look both ways before crossing.
TV's and telephones.
This is a Dedicated Dive Center. They have 3 very nice boats, one new 55 foot catamaran and two 45 foot ones. There are two (2 tank) trips in the morning and one (1 tank) trip in the afternoon. There might also be another single tank trip in the morning; depends. I found for a two week stay, that doing the early 2 tank trip the first week and the later 2 tank trip for the second week worked out very well; they go to different dive sites. Basically all the sites are wall dives. Most of the walls start at about 50 foot and go real deep. Even if you do a wall site twice, one time you go left and the next time you go right. No wreck dives in the area. One night dive per week.
They have a dive photographer that will take your picture with Frankie the Grouper, if you do the dive site at 'telephone pole'. Frankie is quite large and very friendly.
I believe a dive computer is ABSOLUTELY essential here.
Columbus Isle Dive Sites
Bad stuff: the boats are big and hold 40+ folks; that's a lot of divers on one site. Stay away from the beginner groups, the buddy teams are the first off the boat; first in - last out.
NOTE: They no longer have early breakfast at the Sea Center. If you have a room close to the dive dock (aka: Sea Center), you'll end up doing extra walking back to the main dinning room for breakfast, then back to the dock. Please complain about this one.
NOTE: Each person in the buddy team has to have his/her own computer or else you dive using the tables.
Summer season only (May 1 - Oct 30). You must swim out to the platform.
Only during the Summer season (May 1 - Oct 30). It's on the other side of the island; with NO shade. You will be required to swim from the boat to shore (could be 6 foot, could be more - you WILL get wet). Tuesday 10AM - 4PM.
None. Well maybe one. Take a tour (free) of the hyperbaric chamber. For divers, I hope this is the only way you'll see one. For everyone else, when was the last time you saw a hyperbaric chamber while on vacation; see, I thought not.
SCUBA (2 tank) & picnic - cigarette boat. All day (9AM - 4PM), almost everyday.
Deep sea fishing. Half day (8AM - 2:30PM), almost everyday.
Island tour. Half day (9AM - 12PM), min. 4 persons. Tuesday in English & Friday in French.
Sunset cruise. One per week, Thursday, min 10 persons.
Horseback riding. 7AM - 6PM, everyday.
Walk to town.
The town is VERY small, but if you want to see it, on foot or by bicycle is the best way.
NOTE: If you walk out the ClubMed main entrance, you'll add about 10 minutes to your walk.
On foot: walk down to the SeaCenter and continue along the beach, go around
the end of the fence, across the town baseball field, across the airstrip
(look both ways), past the Riding Rock Inn and the marina, then continue on
the main road to town.
10 - 15 minutes to Riding Rock Inn
10 - 15 minutes more to town
NOTE: Wednesday is the night to party at Riding Rock. Walk over and see how the other half live.
Most recent visit: May-98